It’s a competitive world out there when it comes to jobs. It starts with a sharp and polished CV or resume, which will hopefully get you physically in the interview door. But what about the interview?
“In the best interviews, job candidates say a lot and interviewers very little – after all, the interview is about the candidate, not the interviewer,” says writer, speaker and columnist Jeff Haden in What Interviewers Wish They Could Tell Every Job Candidate.
Here are a few tips Haden suggests to get the most out of your interview time.
But most jobs have a whole set of requirements that you may not yet be aware of. Wait until those are detailed, and then tell them why you want the job.
Nobody wants to be responsible for hiring the office jerk (we’ve all rued the day someone hired THAT guy). Your interviewer wants to like you, since you will be working together day in and day out. Smile, make eye contact, don’t slouch in your chair and show excitement. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
Most important, don’t be who you think the interviewer wants you to be. Be yourself and make it your job to put your interviewer at ease.
“The funny thing is (and you’ve probably noticed this in your own life), is that the people who don’t try to be liked, and just put themselves out there openly, honestly and authentically are the people who are the most successful,” says Chris Nosal in his The Undercover Recruiter article, How to Stand out in your Interview. “9 times out of 10, people tell me they would hire the person they like, and will even forgo a slightly more qualified or experienced candidate.”
Don’t say right away that you want the job
Of course interviewers know you want the position on some level, or you wouldn’t be sitting in front of them. But most jobs have a whole set of requirements that you may not yet be aware of. Wait until those are detailed, and then tell them why you want the job.
“A sad truth of interviewing is that later I often don’t recall, unless I refer to my notes, a significant amount about some of the candidates,” Haden relates.
Get a “hook.” It could be unusual (but positive) facts about your experience or career. But the best hook is some great project or job-related skill or fact – something no one else would have. The worst hook? Being negative. It sounds like a given to not whine about current or past employers, but surprisingly, many still do it. Don’t make an interviewer remember you because you were Captain Complainer.
Ask job-related questions that matter to you
It shows that you are interested in whether the job is a good fit for you. But, leave queries about vacation, lunch hours and the like for another day. Here are a few that Haden suggests in 5 Questions Great Job Candidates Ask:
- What I expect you to accomplish early on
- What attributes make our top performers outstanding
- What you can do to truly drive results
Check out 30 Questions You Should And Shouldn’t Ask In A Job Interview for more suggestions.
Follow up and be specific
Here’s a way to kill two birds with one proverbial stone. A brief follow-note leaves a nice impression, but one that is specifically based on something that was discussed in the interview will also serve to set you apart … a hook, if you will. It shows that you listened closely to the interview, and that alone sets you ahead of many of your peers.